Valovaya: Armenia plays key part in Iran’s integration with Eurasian Economic Union
YEREVAN, July 10. /ARKA/. Expansion of the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union’s influence is a very important matter to the organization. Negotiations are now being held with a number of countries, particularly with Iran. What is Armenia’s role in Iran’s integration with the Union, what additional impetuses an Armenia-EU framework agreement can give to the Eurasian integration process and what real factors the Union has for creating a single universal currency?
Tatiana Valovaya, Member of the Board (Minister) for Integration and Macroeconomics, the Eurasian Economic Commission, has answered these questions in an interview with ARKA News Agency.
ARKA - Could you say please what do you think about Armenia’s role in the Eurasian Economic Union’s probable cooperation with Iran?
Valovaya – The negotiation over cooperation with Iran within the Eurasian Economic Union is running quite quickly. It is worth to remember that this is a quite complicated process, which began in 2016, when events involving Iran was adverse because of sanctions. And it is now at a quite good state thanks to Armenia, since the country is among the leaders of this process, and this creates additional opportunities for cooperation with Iran in the frames of the Eurasian Economic Union.
ARKA – Armenia and the European Union are expected to seal a framework deal before the end of this year. Can the signing of such a document trigger conflicts of interest?
Valovaya – The Eurasian Economic Union sees no controversies in the future framework agreement between Armenia and the European Union. Exactly the opposite - such trends will work in the Eurasian market’s favor. Kazakhstan already has such an agreement, maybe Kyrgyzstan will start negotiating soon. Besides, progress is seen in relations between the European Union and Belarus. We welcome this very much, since we sent a proposal to the European Commission yet in 2015 to start a dialogue between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union. However, they didn’t support us pointing out political problems with Russia. But we are an economic union, and while officials are thinking whether to establish relations or not, the European market is losing positions at our market. And we are not happy about that, and therefore we welcome any dialogue.
ARKA – What is being done today to expand the Eurasian Economic Union influence zone?
Valovaya – Earlier, the Eurasian Economic Union signed a joint declaration with Greece, and it has become the first document institutionalizing the Eurasian Economic Commission’s cooperation with the government of an EU member country.
An active work is being done with a number of European countries for further expansion of the cooperation. We conduct joint round-table discussions and conferences. For example, together with our Italian colleagues, we organize a Eurasian forum in Verona. Very often we hold business presentations of our Union in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and other EU countries. We are trying to build relations. In this connection we attach great importance to the signing of a framework deal between Armenia and EU countries. At the moment, the Eurasian Economic Union is negotiating over a non-preferential trade and economic cooperation agreement. We are discussing problems in interlinking of the Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road and cooperation in infrastructural processes.
ARKA - Introduction of a single currency in the Eurasian space is no longer vital, but still could you please voice your opinion on the matter? Dou you see any reason in introduction of such a currency?
Valovaya – We are not discussing and have never discussed the introduction of a single currency in the Eurasian Economic Union. Moreover, considering the experience of the European Union, we understand that to create a single currency it is necessary to pass a far longer way. We need to grow and grow. Quite the contrary - we should expand the application of national currencies in trading and calculations. We have done a great deal – we have surveyed banks and business people to find out if there is any problem in this area. The preliminary result shows that there are no legal problems in using national currencies, but there are economic obstacles. We should take them into consideration to make this more attractive. ---0----